Anonymous submission from Pakistan.
It’s been a while since any of these events occurred, but they continue to bother me, I guess you could even say haunt me, till today.
I’ll start with the fact that I was born and raised in an environment in which I was never discriminated against for being a girl, I was always able to do everything everyone else could, no one stopped me from anything, so I never felt held back because I was a girl. I mean, the crushing on boys was a phase I could’ve forgone, but as I said, it wasn’t ever an issue.
Of course, I had noticed people around me being affected by the fact that they were, indeed, women, but I was swift to remind them, being a woman doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t define who you are.
But I’m getting off topic now. I moved to this Pakistan in Spring 2014, not happily, but what does it matter now?
The first time it happened, I was walking outside with my brother, on my street, quite literally in front of my house. I was wearing a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt and two guys on a motorbike slow down beside me, and reach down to pinch my ass. I had always thought if something like that happened to me, I’d beat the shit out of the guy who tried, but I had been so shocked, I didn’t even move until they were too far gone for me to do anything except scream curses at them.
“You shouldn’t have been wearing that outside, you were asking for it.”
My brother said this to me. Now in no way has my brother ever been a bad person, and, even though it’s messed up, he was joking, and I understood that clearly. But even then, there was truth to the words. I knew that if I kept walking around like that, it would only happen again.
And I wish I could say that I didn’t care and that I’ll wear whatever I want, but at the time, I was angry, and scared. It’s not fun having a random stranger grab your ass, it makes you feel disgusting inside, like your hearts about to burst with anger, disgust, fear and everything else that comes along with it.
I realized the second time it happened that, ‘not caring’ didn’t work on these strangers.
After that, I made sure that when I went out, I’d make myself look as ugly and shapeless as possible. Which worked for some time.
The third time it happened, I was walking my dog with my little sister. I don’t remember what I was wearing, but it happened again, in front of my little sister. She didn’t realize the first time, but the same man had circled around and once again, slowed down in front of me.
I hadn’t seen him the first time, so I didn’t recognize him, and assumed, like most people who did so, needed help. Instead, he reached forward and grabbed my boob, and once again rode away.
I was frustrated that I hadn’t done anything, but also that I had let my sister see that. I started thinking, my sister’s so pretty, and if people can do that to me, then they wont have a problem doing so to her as she gets older.
From then on, I made sure that she stood on the inside of the sidewalk, so if something happens, then at least she wont have to go through it.
The last time something like this happened to me, by a total stranger, was up in Nathia Gali, while I was trying to enjoy myself playing a simple shooting game, the man standing there kept trying to ‘assist’ me, but rather wrapped his arms around me and constantly pinched my boob while I played the game on my own anyway.
I didn’t say anything then, because maybe I had been mistaken, and the guy hadn’t meant to do what he did. But
I remember the fear that I felt when it was my sister’s turn. Even though I wasn’t quite sure what had happened, I made sure that that man did not lay a finger on my little sister.
It only got worse when he offered to let her ride the horse, and even then, I made sure to never leave her alone with this man.
I hate that I felt that most of this was ever necessary, that I had to protect my sister from people you’d never expect to do such things.
I hate that it took the threat of my sister suffering for me to realize how bad this was and how much I needed to step up and say something.
So, sorry, I’m not the best at conclusions and this is quite long, but this was my story, one I haven’t been able to get myself to tell till now.
This page features a collection of personal anecdotes and reflections by authors based on their individual stories.